Can you Cook a Halloween Pumpkin (Jack-o-lantern)?

Is it possible to cook your Halloween pumpkin (aka jack-o-lantern). The short answer is yes. However pumpkins that we purchase for carving (in America) are not grown to be cooked and don’t taste great in traditional pumpkin recipes like pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pancakes, etc.

Can you bake your halloween pumpkin? Typically jack-o-latern pumpkins are not suited for eating, but here's how to find one that tastes great!

“Jack-o-latern” pumpkins are typically large, flat bottomed, and filled with less flesh to make them easier to carve. Their seeds, however are plentiful and great for roasting.

If you want to use fresh pumpkin in a recipe purchase a “pie pumpkin” from the grocery store. They are sold during the fall months and are grown specifically for baking. They are darker in color and are very dense which makes them perfect for baking.

I do not recommend cooking a pumpkin that has already been carved and left outside for an evening or two. Leave the big pumpkins for carving and use the smaller pie pumpkins in your baking.

If you love pumpkin I highly recommend cooking a pie pumpkin. Canned pumpkin isn’t pure pumpkin it is a mixture of squash and pumpkin and isn’t as sweet as the flesh straight of of a pumpkin. Your friends and family will be raving about your pumpkin baked goods when you use fresh, super sweet pie pumpkin in the recipe.

Find step by step instructions on how to cook a pie pumpkin and several delicious recipes here.

How to cook a whole pumpkin in a crock pot. The easiest foolproof method to cook a pumpkin.

 

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Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

At our home, we have a pretty traditional Thanksgiving. We eat turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and plenty of dessert. We also take lots of naps.

This year I’ve decided to shake things up just a bit. I’ll be smoking our turkey, because the flavor is indescribably delicious, and we’ll be serving these Pumpkin Dinner Rolls to dazzle the whole family.

This Thanksgiving, we'll be serving these Pumpkin Dinner Rolls to dazzle the whole family. They're a delicious alternative to typical holiday dinner rolls.

These dinner rolls get their amazing golden color from delicious pumpkin puree. Yum! Adding a tiny amount of cinnamon gives them a layer of flavor that will complement anything else on your table.

But don’t let the pumpkin and cinnamon fool you. These are definitely not a dessert. However, they do have a mild sweetness that shines against the savory dishes on your menu. Try them and let me know what you think.

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
Serves: 12
 
These delicious dinner rolls are easy to make. They add color to your table and a mild sweetness. Enjoy!
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1¼ cups pumpkin puree
  • 2¼ teaspoons yeast (or 1 packet)
  • warm water
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. Add the molasses, honey, butter, and pumpkin puree. Stir briskly to blend. If the mixture is extremely stiff and hard to stir then add very warm water 1 tablespoon at a time. It should look like a stiff dough, not a cake batter. So make sure not to add too much water at once.
  3. Add in the yeast and knead the dough until it's smooth to the touch. Set the dough aside and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise at room temperature for 60 - 90 minutes until doubled in size.
  4. Heat oven to 375° F and spray a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 balls and place in muffin pan. Cover and allow the rolls to rise for about 30 minutes.
  6. Uncover and bake at 375° for 15 - 20 minutes until very light golden brown. Remove the rolls to a cooling rack and serve hot.

I really hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s a delicious alternative to your typical holiday dinner rolls. Try them with honey butter or to scoop up the last bit of mashed potatoes. I love them slathered with apple butter.

This Thanksgiving, we'll be serving these Pumpkin Dinner Rolls to dazzle the whole family. They're a delicious alternative to typical holiday dinner rolls.

Other bread recipes you might like…

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Apple Raisin Spice Cake

 

This moist and delicious Apple Raisin Spice Cake is a great fall favorite that will delight your senses even before you taste it. Savor the aromas as the spicy smells fill your home as it bakes.

This moist and delicious Apple Raisin Spice Cake is a great fall favorite that will delight your senses even before you taste it.

This recipe is an adaptation of a family favorite. My husband’s grandmother has made this every holiday for over 60 years, and everyone loves it. Through the years, I’ve adapted it for our family’s taste buds and preferences.

It started out with a full cup of vegetable oil. While this does make the cake extremely moist, it just seemed like a little much for me. We reduced the oil content by about 25% and changed it to coconut oil.

Then I also added the spices and the raisins. Before it was just basically an apple cake with lots of sugar. I felt like the raisins and spices made it more festive for fall and holiday parties.

It’s the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. It’s fruity without being chunky. I just love how all the flavors are comfortable together. It’s a real gem of a recipe to pull out for potlucks and even just dinner with friends.

Apple Raisin Spice Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup golden raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Coat a bundt pan with butter or shortening. Sprinkle flour around the entire surface of the pan until it is well coated. Do not leave any spots uncoated or it will stick and your cake will break apart when you try to remove it.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and oil. Blend on medium for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix, scrape the bowl, and then add another egg until they're all incorporated.
  5. Add the vanilla and mix just until combined.
  6. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder. Mix on low until combined. Scrape the bowl and make sure that there are no lumps before proceeding.
  7. Fold in the apples and raisins.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.
  9. Place the bundt pan onto a small jelly roll pan to make it easier to remove from the oven later.
  10. Bake at 350° for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove to cooling rack.
  11. Run a butter knife along the outside edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Turn onto cooling rack and cool at least 15 minutes before serving warm. This cake can also be chilled and served cold.
  12. Wrap any leftovers tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

This moist and delicious Apple Raisin Spice Cake is a great fall favorite that will delight your senses even before you taste it.

You might also like…

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Cherry Apple Pork Loin: Slow Cooker

By contributing writer Beth

Smothered in fresh cherries and apples and dusted with cinnamon, your whole family will adore this Slow Cooker Cherry Apple Pork Loin.

Smothered in fresh cherries and apples and dusted with cinnamon, your whole family will adore this Slow Cooker Cherry Apple Pork Loin.

There’s something comforting about a juicy, tender pork loin. It’s full of mouthwatering protein and delicious flavor. Pair that with seasonal fruits and you’ve got a winning flavor combination. Impress your guests with this Cherry Apple Pork Loin for your next special occasion or family dinner.

When my husband was growing up, his mother always paired pork chops with applesauce. Even though my family was the meat and potatoes type, we didn’t mix in fruits with our main dishes. But I’ve learned to be adventurous and try new flavor combinations with old favorites. This recipe is a delightful homage to that classic pork and apple taste combination.

The tart apples and cherries help keep the meat juicy and tender while also adding flavor and sweetness to the savory pork loin. The balsamic vinegar seasons the meat and adds a depth of flavor that you don’t want to leave out. And the cinnamon aroma will make your mouth water!

I like to pair this with a green salad, homemade bread, steamed veggies, or garlic mashed potatoes. Whatever way you serve this Cherry Apple Pork Loin, just be sure you keep the recipe. It’s a showstopper!

Smothered in fresh cherries and apples and dusted with cinnamon, your whole family will adore this Slow Cooker Cherry Apple Pork Loin.

Cherry Apple Pork Loin
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds pork loin
  • 1 cup cherries, stems and pits removed
  • ½ Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Place the pork loin in a large slow cooker,
  2. Top with cherries and apples.
  3. Sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar over the top of the fruit.
  4. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the entire dish.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

More pork recipes you might like…

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.